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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

2020 was supposed to be better than 2019 but you are the lingering stench that persisted till today…

COVID-19, you’re an uninvited guest.

Seemingly underwhelming when you first arrived, you were in fact a pack of gunpowder ready to leave your mark in history. We underestimated your presence and now we are paying the price of our negligence.

You have turned upside down the whole definition of what’s normal and what’s routine!

My income was close to Zero since early Feb and even till March there was little to no success in trying to adapt to the new measures daily.

I remember ending the year 2019 with an amazing road trip to Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai. Driving hundreds of miles and enjoying the cool mountain breeze, delicious food and beautiful sceneries, while reflecting on the ups and downs of 2019 and planning for a BETTER 2020.

As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.

I was excited and ready for 2020 to be a party! A year full of certainty because I took the usual step of planning and was prepared to execute the new “adventures” I had set for myself. A year that is filled with many new experiences, bigger opportunities, upward growth and happy celebrations.

As an emcee/host, sports coach developer and personal development trainer – all at the same time – my days were filled with numerous interactions with people in many different social settings. I loved my job and I enjoyed every minute of working.

2020 started really well with a nice, busy schedule emceeing events such as D&Ds, CNY celebrations and conducting my usual training sessions for swimming teachers and teachers. I was energised!

It was 7th Feb 2020… DORSCON in Singapore went from yellow to ORANGE. The spread of the virus was expanding. That hit the brakes on almost all my gigs. I was emceeing a CNY celebration for a German company by the Singapore River that very night. That was my very last “live” event since. I was frustrated.

Many people talk about having multiple streams of income or having passive income – the idea sounded really good to me for many years... But how is it done? Is it really possible for just anyone? Is it necessary?

It all never occurred to me that I would encounter such a situation until the day I received multiple emails and text – that 90% of work had been cancelled...

No Job = No Income. Being an optimistic person, I started planning to see what I should do and how I could adjust my work to best work around the new measures implemented by the government.

This was a spontaneous action I took. I drove 5 hours alone to KL to attend a 2-day intensive course on internet marketing & creating virtual content.

While I was exploring how i could apply what I had learnt, I successfully pitched for a series of training sessions with sports coaches, kept in small numbers.

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t seem to work for long as the circuit breaker went stricter and tighter – more people were getting infected. I started to become anxious and fear started creeping in.

My income was close to Zero since early Feb and even till March there was little to no success in trying to adapt to the new measures daily.

Feeling nervous and lost, my hope for this situation to end soon was quickly diminishing. There was no way this was going to be over soon and I needed to survive!

Since the circuit breaker commenced on 7th April, I have adapted to a slightly stable “new norm”, where we basically did everything at home or from home. Stepping out of what’s been “normal” to try to do things differently. Innovating and trying new ideas, collaborating with friends and co-workers, doing the “usual” on new platforms and avenues.

Doing live stream talk shows (SWIM HACKS), online sports workout programmes (SWEAT SHOCK) and taking up multiples roles in curriculum development, facilitating virtual Zoom training and also ad hoc jobs delivering parcels.

Though income is far from what is usual, I am thankful that I have some work to do.

I had envisioned 2020 to be filled with many new experiences, bigger opportunities, upward growth and happy celebrations.

Looking back now, half of the year is gone and though nothing turned out they way I would have liked it to, surprisingly, I did have many new experiences doing live streaming, online telecommunicating, filming online content and so on.

I have found bigger opportunities in creating an online talk show – SWIM HACKS has reached hundreds of people from 10 countries and I am also collaborating with world-class athletes and former world record holders from Australia.

Celebrating my sibling's birthday together as a family, which has not happened for years. 

It’s been an enriching journey learning to connect using technology and experiencing the definition of “a world without boundaries”.

I started to see these times from being just difficult times to different times. 

Finding the silver lining, it's incredible how you (COVID-19) started in one city and within weeks spread all across the world. In a matter of weeks you have kept half the world in our homes and brought focus to some issues neglected by society (Environment, Elderly, Migrant Workers, Public health and so on).

You have brought togetherness in us to unite and fight this pandemic. The sky looks clearer and more blue with less pollution from cars, planes and factories.

We may be physically distant from one another but that does not mean that we should socially exclude ourselves. Many of us are finally talking to one another again; we finally have time for the ones we love the most.

We will continue to battle on, I hope we maintain fullness in our hearts. Keeping our head high in the midst of all these, and practising acts of kindness to one another and to ourselves.

As of 25th May 2020,

Over 3.7 billion people have been in lockdown
Over 5.4 million people have been infected
Over 344,000 people have died due to COVID-19

COVID-19, are you done with us?

Elson Leong

14 May 2020